Progressive Web App (PWA) and Xojo

Hi all!

A conversation on an alternative to the App Store reminded me that I like the PWA (progressive web app), an increasingly interesting alternative to native applications.

Easy to set up, it’s great, especially on Android and Chrome desktop (Mac and PC). Even on Mac and Windows, a standalone app is created, and you have the application icon in the dock, no web browser interface, etc.

On Android, a popup automatically appears to install the app on the home screen. A real standalone apk binary is then generated. You can even put a startup splash image. On Chrome desktop (Mac and PC), an icon appears at the top of the browser to suggest that you install a standalone application of this web app.

On IOS, it also works better and better, but for the moment, Safari will not automatically offer you to install a standalone application (you must click on “add to home screen” in the sharing menu).

I created a PWA and it’s great. With the Xojo web 1 framework, this is not possible. But it may be possible to tweak something, with a small almost empty PWA, and for example an iframe that would call the Xojo web app. Has anyone tried it?

Of course, it wouldn’t be a real and solid PWA, since it wouldn’t work without Internet, but it would already bring improvements: standalone app, and little by little access to some native technologies.

Translated with

would you mind elaborate a bit more on this??

FWIW, Apple no longer accepts apps whose main function is just an htmlviewer that shows a web page.

The problem with traditional PWAs and Xojo is that you can disconnect from the internet and the app still runs and functions. Xojo web apps still require that the backend be there because that’s where all the logic is… written in compiler Xojo code.

Thank you Greg!

Yes, that’s just it. Once Apple has fully implemented PWA (which are accessible directly via the web, not via the app store), it is possible that it will remove the hybrid apps from the app store. They will have an excuse by telling developers that if they want to make a web app, they can then make a progressive web app.

I was talking about a PWA accessible from the web browser (for installation), not a hybrid app on the app store. And what a pleasure to keep the freedom of the web…

yes, it will not be a “complete” PWA, but we could already have some advantages, including easy installation on the home screen (when Apple adds an automatic popup when opening the PWA to invite the user to install the PWA on the home screen, as Google does on Mac/Windows/Android). I have to find the time to try.

I think if Xojo pursues the LLVM -> WebAssembly route, they could support PWAs that support an offline mode. Xojo already compiles down to LLVM from my understanding but I’m not technical enough in this area or the backend of Xojo to understand the amount of work to accomplish this. I know Microsoft is tackling WebAssembly PWA from two directions (Xamarin and Blazor). Would love to see Xojo tackle this similarly. Xojo is really fast and easy to get up and running UI in a WebApp and their session management is really where I find it most powerful - despite me preferring C# as a backend language. If they did this route I would probably pursue Xojo for the frontend PWA and then have a backend C# API that scales better and is more geo-redundant. Honestly them adding the PWA capacity is probably what would get me to stick with XOJO long term. I still can’t find anything where I can develop something as quickly.